Pacific Pedal Cruiser's 14-person cruiser bikes help passengers work up an appetite as they power the pedal-equipped vehicle toward Hermosa Beach restaurants and bars under the guidance of an experienced driver. As tunes lilt from the bike’s iPod-equipped sound system, passengers work their way toward pit stops at bars, such as Patrick Molloys, Underground Pub & Grill, Barnacles Bar and Grill, and other area establishments, refueling with dining and drink specials before resuming their breezy cruise. Bikes welcome the collected members of a bachelorette party or birthday fete for camaraderie-filled private tours or forge new friendships between couples and people tired of waiting at the impound lot during public tours.
Gliding down Redondo Beach Esplanade toward the spectacular homes on the Palos Verdes hillside, segways purr almost silently along the Redondo Beach strand, which is within steps of the Pacific Ocean. Reaching speeds of up to 12.5 miles per hour on the open strand below the bluffs, tour-goers effortlessly navigate scenic routes along the waterfront, the pier, and into King Harbor atop a segway PT. Guides ensure guests are comfortable with the machinery’s mechanisms for accelerating and braking before heading out on one of the daily excursions.
Catalina Adventure Tours’ aquatic guides unlock the secrets of island living during submarine and glass-bottom-boat tours or interior land excursions. Safely submersed below sea level aboard the military replica SS Nautilus, groups of up to 45 search the waters for rapidly growing ladder kelp, boisterous fish, and reflections they think are sea spirits, and those riding in glass-bottom boats start feeding frenzies among hungry schools gliding below. Alternatively, guests can spy bald eagles and buffalo during an Inside Adventure tour or gaze over cacti speckling the foreground of sweeping ocean views from the Wrigley Memorial & Botanical Gardens on the City Botanical Garden tour. Catalina Adventure Tours also runs evening missions with guides serving as curators of ocean nightlife and designated drivers for seahorse discotheques.
Bryan Freeman wanted two things out of his career: to meet new people and spend time outdoors. With this in mind, Mr. Freeman's path seemed obvious. He would start giving bike tours. A self-described "fact guy," the expert guide draws upon his extensive knowledge of the Venice area to delight both tourists and California natives. From the Venice canals to the spacious mailboxes of celebrity homes, the expert guide tells stories about famous locations and uncovers some of the area's hidden gems. "Everyone always says they had no idea the tour would be so exciting," he says. "People think Venice is just the beach, but just a block away there is so much more."
Mr. Freeman doesn't keep his groups confined to the seats and cowboy saddles of bicycles. He frequently points out ideal spots for photo ops and occasionally pauses for activities, such as letting groups spray paint their names onto a legal-graffiti wall. He also supplies optional helmet cams that capture videos for souvenirs.
The ocean-side city of Santa Monica, flush with food, culture, and history, provides ample fodder for Destination Food Tours’ signature outing. Led by a local guide, groups stroll to a succession of eateries such as Bar Pinxto, where chefs infuse tapas with traditional Spanish flavors. At MAKE—a completely raw restaurant—chef and author Matthew Kenney showcases the decadence of uncooked food, and at the tour’s final stop, N’ice Cream, scoops of organic gelato refresh taste buds and extinguish mustache fires.
Active Movement's fleet of pedal-assisted and full-throttle electric bikes allows visitors to savor the sights of Santa Monica with minimal effort. Couples and small groups of friends can mount the bicycles and take a private ride past Hermosa Beach, the Venice Beach skate park, and the Santa Monica Pier. And, they also have the option to join an organized adventure in order to pedal past a handful of the area's historic sites, taking well-composed snapshots to share with friends or empty photo albums.